Nshenyi Cultural Village

Nshenyi Cultural Village

Nshenyi Cultural Village

Nshenyi Cultural Village is located on a farm near Kitwe Town on the edge of Ntungamo District. It is a thirty minute drive from Ntungamo Town centre, or an hour’s drive from Mbarara. 

Traditionally, Nshenyi is a pastoralist area. The terrain is characterised by endless rolling hills, savanna grass and acacia trees, an environment that is ideal for rearing cattle.

Agriculture is another economic pursuit of the people of Nshenyi. There are large tracts of banana plantations and a variety of subsistence and commercial crops on many farms in the area.

Learn about the Ankole culture while taking in the breathtaking scenery of Western Uganda

At Nshenyi Cultural Village, guests can partake in an authentic homestay experience, allowing them to truly connect with the Ankole culture. One of the highlights of the homestay is the chance to participate in the day-to-day farm chores. Imagine waking up to the gentle sound of cowbells and joining in the milking of the Ankole cows, followed by the traditional process of making ghee or culturing yogurt. These hands-on activities provide an intimate glimpse into the agricultural practices that have sustained the Ankole people for generations.

When you visit Nshenyi you will experience the traditional lifestyle of Banyankole people. Through the various activities, you will immerse yourself in the community through nature walks, visiting homesteads and learn about the farming tools and techniques passed on through the ages.

You will also visit some of the local schools, walk through the local markets and visit with the Batwa pottery makers. You can also walk along the Kagera River and cross into Tanzania and Rwanda.

Traditional Homestead

The largest hut belongs to the head of the family. Calves are kept close for protection in small pens (ebihongore); the milking area is situated in the front of the house (eikamiro); and the fireplace (ekomi) would be in the centre of the kraal. During the night, the entrance of the kraal would be blocked off with logs (emihingo).

A traditional Hima hut is shaped like a dome and divided into three parts. A common seating area (omuryango), two bedrooms (ebitu) and an open enclosure in the back (ekikaari).

Ankole Cows

The Ankole cattle are a special breed of African cattle which stand out because of their long white-curved outside horns and a dark-brown skin color. The long horns evolved to protect them from predators like hyenas, lions and leopards. They are often referred to as Cattle of the Kings because they were highly valued by royal families who kept them in high numbers for prestige.

 When one accumulates 100 heads of cattle, a bell is put around the neck of one of the most prized cows to demonstrate ones achievement. The sound of the bell not only pleases the owner of the herd, but also guides the herdsmen towards the herd if they stray. It also guards them against theft because the herdsmen are always listening out for the sound of the bell.

Marriages are cemented with the payment of dowry in the form of cattle. This exchange is reciprocated during the marriage ceremony or after the birth of each child.

Friendship and patronage are also cemented through the giving and receiving of cows. This reciprocal relationship is a form of social bonding.

Every cow has a name and will respond to their name when called. The names relate to their behaviour, character, skin patterns, size, shape of horns and their position in the herd.